Nelson Mandela is still in hospital for "extraordinary" care but there is no crisis over his health after he underwent surgery to remove gallstones, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
Zuma said doctors are "satisfied that the progress he is making is consistent with his age".
"They say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress," Zuma said in a statement.
"We urge the public to continue supporting Madiba, but at the same time to understand that he is 94 years old and needs extraordinary care."
Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj, who was a political prisoner together with Mandela, said he had visited the revered statesman earlier on Tuesday and found him in a "good mood".
"We chatted, but the first thing he asked was, 'Mac, what are you doing here?'" he told AFP.
Mandela underwent a successful surgery at the weekend to remove gallstones.
The former president and icon of the anti-apartheid struggle was admitted to hospital on 8 December for a series of tests after being airlifted from his rural home in Qunu in the south of the country to a military hospital in the capital Pretoria.
Doctors found he had a recurrent lung infection and had developed gallstones.
The Nobel peace laureate has a long history of lung problems dating back decades when he contracted tuberculosis while in prison.
He was previously hospitalised for an acute respiratory infection in January 2011, when he was kept as an inpatient for two nights.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known by his clan name, became South Africa's first black president after the country's first all-race elections in 1994 and stepped down after serving one term.